When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
What was your earliest experience of The Unknowable, of The One, of God? How old were you when you first came to know that you were a part of something great and magnificent, vast, wondrous and loving?
I am not sure how old I was, but I was young, very young, perhaps, four- or five-years-old. My holy habit was to lay on my stomach in the green grass of our well-kept yard and look for Four Leaf Clovers. I still remember how soft the grass felt, how sweet it smelled, and how much fun it was to gently separate the longer pieces with my fingers in the hope of finding a tiny treasure tucked in there somewhere. Eureka! To find such a gem was the hallmark of my day.
Yet, more was stirring beneath the skies on those days, a feeling within me as I rested there—body cradled by earth and caressed by sun—of complete well being and belonging. A sense of being connected to everything, and that this everything was perfect just as it was. And Something, Something, had put this whole majestic scene together, including me. We all belonged together—earth and sky, Something and me.
Since those early days of clover hunting, Nature has consistently served as the portal for my connection to the Divine. And today was no exception.
Decades later, I find myself on the grass again. This time on a protective blanket, pillow under my head (because comfort matters more today than when I was young), gazing up at three sister maples, azure blue sky in the background, with nuthatches and chickadees darting up and down their branches. It has been years—eons, it seems—since I have rested under the firmament this way. No clock, no sense of time, only the movement of the sun across the sky. I turn on my side and surrender to the hum of cicadas, a sweet lullaby for the woman child in me who longs to connect with the Something on this most perfect of days; to remember the Oneness, the feeling of timeless belonging to Something so much grander than myself, and give myself over to its embrace.
Eyes closing, I drift and surrender to the song. I am a child again and the Divine One welcomes me as I am. Glory be.
I no longer search for Four Leaf Clovers. In fact, I stopped searching for anything a long time ago. Today, on this most precious blue-sky day, I simply let me go, for the only thing that prevents me from feeling the blessing of oneness is myself.
The child we were, the one who knew the hug of earth and kiss of sky, still lives in us, and is eager to reconnect with the Sacred as we did then. All we have to do is get our adult (oh, so mature) self out of the way and let go. Let go into Something. Or Nothing. Or Everything.
What was your earliest experience of the Sacred as a child? How did this experience shape your adult spirituality?
I believe in dreams.
I also believe in hard work.
I believe in doing the "good work of self" so that we are worthy of receiving the dream we desire.
I believe that when we align ourselves with the Universe's deepest desire for us in a co-creative way, pretty much anything is possible—in the human realm, that is.
Co-creativity, by the way, means you do your part and the Universe does its part.
My newest book, My Deepest Self, is one of those long-awaited dreams. For many years, I knew I would write a book like this. I just didn't know how or when, so patience was required.
I believe in " divine timing" and honoring that timing, even if we are chafing at the bit to HAVE IT NOW—or in our own way.
Somehow, mysteriously, the Universe knows when we are ready and, at just the right moment, the door to new terrain is opened. Within the blink of an eye, it seems we are there ... the place we had dreamed of.
Without this blog post sounding too self-promotional, I simply want to say to you, don't give up on your dreams. My last book was published in 2008. I had to wait seven years for the next one to come forth. I stopped and started. Many times. I failed—often. I even lost faith in myself for a period of time when a fairly famous literary agent who chose to represent me, suddenly dumped me saying, "Nobody wants to hear what you have to say."
(As you can imagine, that was a big blow to overcome.)
I encourage you to trust divine timing. Know that something you may want isn't here because everything you need to make it a reality may not yet be in place.
Trust your soul-self. Wait. Be patient. Continue to do your part. Root your intention. Work on your inner being. Evolve yourself so that your are fully awake and aware and can read sacred signals. Stay positive and hopeful.
You will know when the time is right for your dream to be made manifest because nothing will be able to stop you. The Universe will be behind your every effort because you are now full of love and goodness and generosity. And patience! (The Universe likes patient people ;-)
Dreams are realized when we have fully surrendered to the will of the One. When you are able to do this the world cracks wide open.
You can trust me on this one. ;-)
In an increasingly complex and frustrating world,
we long for Love.
We long to know the Sacred intimately.
We seek an all-consuming relationship with the Divine
because we have been thirsty for too long,
and we have sought sustenance from many dry wells.
It is time to drink from the cup of Spirit,
allowing ourselves to become intoxicated by its sweetness,
opening our eyes to limitless beauty
and Love beyond measure.
Excerpted from Awakening the Spirit Within
I love the idea of "falling into the arms of the Divine" where there is nothing else but Love. The best way I know to accomplish this is to nourish my spirit; to let go of the should's, stop pressuring myself, and surrender into Beingness. Work and "the world" can wait, for my spiritual connection is more important than anything. What about you? Is this something you long for too? If it is, I'd love to companion you on this journey inward. Learn more.
"The center is the dancing ground ..."
"That space is bad,
I've been spending my morning meditation time with The Radiance Sutras. The beauty of this "ecstatic poetry" has a rhythmic quality to it, like a song or a dance.
When I read it I feel everything in my body opening up, softening. letting go. Ease rises up. When I put music to this experience, the feelings of calm/joy heighten and I feel the sway and glow of universal energies moving through me.
Have you ever noticed that music or dance brings you back to your center in this way? Our senses are heightened when we listen to music or move our body to dance. Without even being overtly aware, we find ourselves smack dab in the holy middle: back in our sacred center of awareness.
Miraculously, we "become" the music, we live the dance. Resistance is gone. A foot tapping. Pelvis moving. Shoulders dipping and rising. We are one with our experience. We flow ...
And, bless the stars, conscious (ego-based) thought disappears.
Philosophers have told us for centuries (and newer researchers too) that music can bypass thinking and move us into feeling. At times, it can take us deeper yet—into our "spiritual heart"—the essence of who we are.
This is what happens to me when I read The Radiance Sutras, especially when I put them to music. The words upon the page dissolve into note, slide grace-fully into my body, and I remember who I really am.
I am this place of Peace I find myself in.
I am the Love which is spoken about.
I am the joy of Being.
Worries gone. Troubles set aside. Past and future nowhere in sight. The moment is now and that's all there is.
Have you experienced this yourself?
This connection feels quite divine—literally. When words of sacred truth ring true, they meld into us and we into them through the power of music.
Going deeper, beyond rational thought ...
.. we arrive in the territory of soul.
Back in the middle with You.
© 2013, Janice Lynne Lundy
Join me for a "Summer of Love." A musical experience deeper into the "spiritual heart." 30 days, one soulful teaching each day, and a song to help YOU drop into the middle again so you can remember who you really are--LOVE.
Begins June 15, delivered to your Inbox daily. Both men and women welcome to this co-ed Love Fest, Woodstock-style!
Registration has begun.
The notion of spiritual health might be confusing to some because it is not a way of thinking that's common to our experience.
I know this firsthand because I had the notion of "health" topsy turvy for years.
I've always believed that we are a body-mind-spirit being and that each part of ourself must be attended to to have optimal well-being. This made sense to me. Take care of your body, take care of your mind, take care of your spirit and everything will be just fine. Oh, yes, take care care of your heart too—your emotional self.
After losing my health in 1994 (a complete crash and burn experience on all levels—physical, mental and emotional), using the traditional BMS formula is how I patched my life back together. Or so I thought.
It took me nearly a year to reclaim my well-being. During that year, I did very little but took care of myself and my family as best I could. I rested (alot!), walked the beach daily, laid in the sun, connected with nature, and I read--books I was unexplainedly drawn to (Thich Nhat Hanh, the poetry of Rumi, for ex., best to say these books/writers found me).
Each day of my healing journey I made sure that I did something "good" for my body, my mind, my heart, and my spirit because part of me still wanted to get the formula just right! At the end of a year, I did feel much better and could return to "normal" life at a reduced pace, with fresh awareness of how I could live more gently with myself.
Here's the miracle of miracles.
My soul was the guiding force in my healing journey.
My soul—the divine intelligence within me, the "heart/mind" that is plugged into the One (Source, God, Love, etc)—was the wayshower. It was out in front leading me the entire time and I didn't even know it.
I understand now that our soul is always guiding us toward healing and wholeness; to living intimately connected with the Source of everything ... the Divine as we understand it.
And even if we don't actively perceive this connection (like me), the soul is still present, active, guiding us toward homeostasis, to wholeness.
This, in my view, is where the notion of "spiritual health" comes in. When we learn to listen for our soul's guidance, we know (on some level) exactly what we need to do to restore balance in our life.
The soul knows. The soul guides
On a human level, this means it is our utmost calling to connect with our soul, strengthen our ability to hear it, then honor what it invites us to. When we do, we are literally "home free."
During my health crash/healing, I was listening to something, though I didn't know it was my soul back then. It was a still small voice within me that guided me to what brought spiritual nourishment and healing energy: to walk the shoreline, or to rest, or to say "No" to a certain responsibility. It drew me toward the right book to read, the right person to reach out to, the right foods to eat.
This process of listening to, honoring, and acting upon the soul's directives is "Spiritual Health." As we pay attention to our soul needs--our spiritual needs—our whole health returns.
Attending to our Spiritual Health can result in:
• healing, increased physical health and well-being (Body)
• mental stability, inner calm, peace of mind (Mind)
• stabilized emotions, improved relationships with self and others,
openheartedness, love, forgiveness (Heart)
• wisdom (compassion, lovingkindness, generosity, living "the
virtues of the Spirit") (Spirit)
Nurturing our Spiritual Health, in time, restores body-mind-spirit wellness. Life balance. Inner harmony.
Yet, in the bigger picture, the greatest benefit of attending to our Spiritual Health is that it softens us. It makes us maleable and opens us to our humanity and to the divinity within us. It plugs us into the Divine as we understand so we are directly connected to the source of our being—our love, our passion, our purpose.
Spiritual Health is a profound path to wholeness. And wholeness is our birthright and our destiny.
When we are in tune with our soul, Everything is possible.
In 1994, I took my first "Year for Me" because I wanted inner peace so badly I could feel it, taste it. I longed for it daily. It took a long time to get there, but with passion and perseverance I did become more peace-filled. Though I do wander off the peace trail once in a while. Who doesn't?
This current "Year for Me" carries a number of different longings along with it. It's not as simple as inner peace. It's more complex and multi-layered than that. It feels richer, deeper, like the creation of a beautiful tapestry.
It feels as if I'm weaving all the pieces of my life together.
As a child, I used to love making potholders. Perhaps you know the kind. We used a square metal "loom" with prongs. Varied colors, fabric loops. In and out, over and under you'd go.
It was a very simple process—though I never could figure out how to get the potholder off the loom once the weaving was done. My mother would have to employ her trusty crochet hook and do it for me. I always left the finishing up to her.
Now the process feels different. It's my life-loom I'm using and I'm the one who has to expertly bring all the pieces together, and finish it.
So many pieces ...
Childhood fun and sweet memories
The body aging
All the loves
The parts you'd wish you could forget but can't
Each of these brilliant-hued or dulled threads woven together creates a majestic tapestry of one's life. Each thread is precious, serving as a sturdy platform for the next to rest upon, without which there would be holes, gaps, where grace could fall through and be lost to us forever.
"Everything belongs," as Fr. Richard Rohr would say, so we bring everything of every hue to the weaving— the light and the dark, the joys and the sorrows. Without each tender moment and memory, the tapestry would be incomplete, pale, inauthentic.
But it takes time to do this kind of weaving. And it certainly takes longer than "A Year for Me." But at least we can begin to dedicate ourselves to this holy process, one of integration, a return to wholeness.
My sense is that in the weaving, this is the most valiant part: taking our seat at the loom and actually beginning. Being brave and steadfast enough to gather our materials together—the scatterings of our human self—and ever so gently guiding them into their proper place.
We take our seat, we select a thread, we breathe, we draw it deftly toward us and weave it through—over, under, over, under—allowing it to touch our very heart. We wait on grace to come through.
This time around, I'm delighted to be weaving a complete tapestry and not simply a potholder. Though a potholder is useful, a tapestry is soul-affirming.
I like to imagine that my tapestry can become a shawl, one I can place around my shoulders for comfort and warmth. It will remind me of how life has embraced me ...
... and of how, I, who have done the weaving, have embraced life as well.
Haunted by Hunger
In the past week, a beautiful white-tail deer mama and her three young ones began creeping closer to our house. We rarely saw them all winter but now that spring is on the fringes, it appears that the deer are hungry. Their food supply has run out and though the fawns seem healthy and fat, mama looks lean.
I watch them as they nuzzle the snow for early, tender stalks of green; taste the tips of thin branches hoping to savor a tender bud. Their search seems fruitless which explains why they stand so still, staring into the windows of our house, hoping for a handout.
I see how mama is ever watchful that nothing will harm her young ones.
I watch how she encourages them to eat the carrots we toss out while she hangs back.
I see the longing in her eyes, the longing for nourishment that could ease her own hunger but how mothering takes precedence. It is vital that her babies survive. Her vigilance, her unselfish food-leaving, ensures that they do. She minimizes her own needs so her dear ones will thrive.
And as I watch her eyes, haunted with hunger, I watch how my own mother-centric emotions rise and fall with hers.
Would I be as dedicated and courageous if I were placed in this situation? I believe I would.
Though I have often negated myself and my own needs for the betterment of others only to discover that, in time, this was not the best course of action.
It is a wise woman who knows when to give and when to hang on or to carefully apportion her time and energy.
It is a wise woman who knows how to say 'No' at just the right times, and 'Yes' at others.
It is a wise woman who knows, through deep listening, that what she is about to do will not serve her well. She has had enough of self-abasement and realizes that by giving so many pieces of herself away she does not benefit others—or herself.
It is not as easy as it seems to listen and know. It takes watchfulness, faithfulness, steadiness of mind and heart to know what to do when ...
The presence of mama deer today invites me to such watchfulness. To deeper listening. To trusting the voice of my soul that says yea or nay.
I do not wish to look through eyes that speak to the world of soul hunger. Nor should you.
If "shoulds" can be good, this, indeed, is a "good should."
Let us love ourselves enough to listen deeply ... to hear and know what our tender self, like a young fawn, needs to thrive.
(Photo Credit: http://www.nenature.com/)
"Can you give birth and still let go? Can you nourish others and continue to take care of yourself?
Can you show others the way without losing your own? Can you provide safety yet dare to risk the unknown?
Can you calm the fears of children while embracing your own?
Everything you touch changes. You change everything you touch. The process is creation."
From The Tao of Women—"Birthing" —by Pamela K. Metz and Jacqueline L. Tobin. 1995, Humanics Limited.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we are meant to live.
Continue the conversation with me and others on my Facebook page.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.